Real Madrid: Failed to survive after the departure of Zidane and Ronaldo

Real Madrid: Failed to survive after the departure of Zidane and Ronaldo

Defeated at home in the first leg, Ajax Amsterdam crushed Real Madrid, title holder, in the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night.

It’s a thunder blow to Real Madrid. The defending champion was eliminated on their own turf by the dutch outfit. Beaten in the first leg 2-1, the Dutch gave a lesson of football to Real Madrid in Santiago Bernabeu by winning 4-1.

The first season of Santiago Solari at the head of Real turned into a nightmare for the Blancos, dropped in the La Liga and eliminated in the King’s Cup. This is the first time since 2010 that Real will be absent from the semi-finals of the Champions League. Three-time champions of the competition in the last three years, the Madrid club have not survived the departure of Zinedine Zidane first, then that of Cristiano Ronaldo. Worse, Florentino Perez failed to maintain a team that remained on eight consecutive semifinals in the Champions League.

Madrid, failure as a team

Tuesday, there was one who had to bite his fingers, from stand, Sergio Ramos, suspended after voluntarily taking a yellow card for future quarter-final, had to ruminate. Ramos’s absence, who made a big game in the first leg, made a great difference. Faced against Ajax, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro were only the shadow of themselves, like Raphael Varane. And this season, Gareth Bale won’t be able to say that he is doing better, and Sergio Ramos too. Isco, impressive under Zinedine Zidane, now warms on the sidelines, and where the individualities of the Real were in tune to shine a balanced and welded collective in the last few seasons, the dry failure did not wait very long to be felt. Madrid had not experienced this type of elimination in eighths of nine years.

Cristiano, the X factor

“Of course we miss Cristiano. He would be missed by any team. To replace him is almost impossible.”

Luka Modric said this after the defeat against Ajax, was right. Impossible to replace Cristiano, and Karim Benzema swears that he feels better, the absence of the Portuguese was felt in the game. The surface game was poor, no one is at the conclusion of large-scale actions and Real also seems to have lost the immunity that never made them doubt. The state of mind of the five-time Golden Ball was precious. And if Sergio Ramos and Co. are great leaders, this attack was lacking in the game. Benzema is one of them, too, but this team is indeed an orphan without CR7.

Zidane, the management

Zinedine Zidane decided to leave the ship who certainly felt the wind turn, and it is understandable. But the question arises as to the quick decision to associate with Julen Lopetegui, the heavy end in October and to choose, in place of former Spain coach, inexperienced Santiago Solari. Solari signed an excellent debut, and it is important to report it, allowing Real to regain his place in the top 3 in Liga and to address new appointments with strong choices. Solari allowed the observers to discover Vinicius Jr and Sergio Reguilon, two satisfactions, but the disillusionment with Ajax will inevitably leave traces, especially with two Clasico against Barca lost in less than a week. According to Spanish media, Florentino Perez was already looking out to find a new coach, and after the melodrama of elimination? Surely yes.

Also Read: Zizou at Madrid

Ronaldo Turns 34: Defying Odds and Breaking Records

Cristiano Ronaldo Turns 34: Defying Odds and Breaking Records

With his decisive brace against Parma on Saturday, Cristiano Ronaldo has taken his Serie A goal tally to 17, becoming the leading scorer in the process. It was not meant to happen, but it is happening. Cristiano Ronaldo is still shattering records, against all the odds, against the natural order of things. 

The Portuguese superstar, who turned 34 on Tuesday, has always been stubborn. He has won every individual honour there is, but his hunger is still insatiable as ever. At Real Madrid, Ronaldo had the world at his feet. Three consecutive Champions League titles and a La Liga sandwiched in between, most players would’ve begged to continue living the ‘dream.’ Then again, Ronaldo has always been an anomaly, an arrogant one at that.

Juventus embraced the opportunity with open arms and snapped up the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. £105.30m and a lucrative contract later, Ronaldo landed in Turin, prepared to take on his newest challenge.

“I’m here because it’s a brand new challenge for my career,” he said.

“It’s a big club and usually players of my age go to Qatar or to China, with all due respect, so coming to such an important and outstanding club at this point in my career makes me very happy. That’s why I’m very grateful to Juventus for this opportunity.”

He wasn’t too familiar with Serie A and took a bit of time to settle in. Juventus head coach, Massimiliano Allegri, gave him all the time he needed to get himself accustomed, insisting the veteran would come good. And soon enough, good he came. After enduring an unusual three-game goalless run, he opened his Juventus account with a match-winning brace against Sassuolo on September 16th.

The Bianconeri got a glimpse of their biggest superstar, his unmatched ferocity. At Juventus, Ronaldo has also been an astute orchestrator. Italian football doesn’t allow much space for the Portuguese to stretch his legs, so, he drops deep to get hold of the ball and be more involved. 7 assists in 22 Serie A appearances show how effective his ‘non-existent’ playmaking has been.

Also Read: Zlatan slams Ronaldo for joining Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo has a knack for defying odds, and Juventus have given him the perfect opportunity to extend his legacy. The Portuguese has always been obsessed with fitness, with perfection. Throughout his career, he has been slated for making the most out of negligible contacts, for going to ground too easily. Every single step he has taken so far in his career has been to prolong his stay, to maintain his position as the best in the world.

The Messi vs Ronaldo debate is genuinely a pointless practice. Both superstars have their strengths as well as weaknesses. The Barcelona man, arguably, is technically superior and oozes sophistication. Ronaldo, on the other hand, is all about explosiveness and determination. He is fully aware of his limitations but still continues to challenge himself, to push his limits. If Ronaldo were like other famous Ballon d’Or winners, he probably would have hung up his boots or moved to a less demanding league in search of an even bigger paycheque. Thankfully, the 34-year-old is unlike any other footballing superstar we have come across. Thankfully, he is just as hungry as he was the day he first walked on to the pitch.

Cristiano Ronaldo accepts €18.8 Million fine following Tax evasion

Cristiano Ronaldo accepts €18.8 Million fine following Tax evasion

Cristiano Ronaldo has negotiated an €18.8m (24.2 Million Dollars) fine with a court in Madrid over tax evasion charges.

Cristiano Ronaldo was greeted by a huge media presence outside a court in Madrid, Spain. The deal also reportedly included a 23-month Jail time but given the non-violent nature of his crime to add to the fact that most convicts serving a sentence under 2 years don’t serve time in Spain.

Ronaldo is likely to do no Jail time and instead serve the rest of his punishment on probation. The Superstar’s Lawyers had requested permission for him to attend the hearing through a video call or enter the premises in a car for security purposes but was denied permission. Ronaldo had to enter the court on foot just like any normal person and the Portuguese captain seemed to not be affected by the media attention and was seen giving a thumbs-up to the camera.

The Court hearing barely lasted minutes as Ronaldo took the deal that was offered to him by the prosecution. Ronaldo accepted the charges levied on him by the Spanish court that included evasion of tax valued at 5.7 Million euros across four different incidents between the years 2010 and 2014. The court set an 18.8 Million euro fine as a penalty for the five-time World Player of the year which he very willingly agreed to pay. No surprises there considering the Juventus forward earns a reported 95 Million Euros a year in Salary and endorsements according to Forbes magazine and is the third wealthiest athlete in the world. 

The allegations were first made in 2017 and Ronaldo’s lawyers claimed that the whole allegation was a “Conscious breach of his fiscal obligation in Spain”. The Juventus Forward’s lawyers have also gone on to say that this was all a misunderstanding over the tax laws in Spain and what was and wasn’t required by the Nation’s tax authorities.

Though the player was charged back in 2017 the 18.8m penalty was decided upon by the authorities last year just before the commencement of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. All that was pending was the signature of the Director of the Spanish tax agency and Ronaldo’s statement in which he would agree to pay the sum. Now with all those formalities completed, the Portuguese star has finally put this two-year long controversy to bed. Just goes to show how easily a celebrity of any sorts can go on to manipulate the system in any way they want to. But that’s an argument reserved for another portal, we’re just going to back to watching CR7 bang goals in for fun.

Vinicius Jr – Real Madrid’s Next Big Superstar?

Vinicius Jr - Real Madrid's Next Big Superstar?

Struck by inconsistency and two massive departures, Los Blancos have been reduced to a shadow of their former ruthless selves. Yet, amid all the hopelessness and against all odds, an 18-year-old has emerged as their brightest and most vivid spark. 

Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo were two of the most prolific members of Real Madrid. So, after their successive departures, Los Blancos were forced to fall back upon the most experienced members of the squad. Gareth Bale, who was bound to become the ‘King of Madrid’ after Ronaldo’s departure, failed to live up to the billing, handing one lanky Brazilian teenager an opportunity he couldn’t even dream of.

The former Flamengo forward always dreamt of donning the royal white. So, when the opportunity finally presented itself in 2017, he couldn’t help himself from jumping the gun.

Also Read: Marcos Llorente – A career in danger

“Yes, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona among others,” he told Marca when asked if there had been inquiries from other clubs.

“They were always in touch with us. In the end, we waited for the right time and the right team.”

“I felt that I was making my boyhood dream come true, that I was going to a club that all the best players in the world want to be at. The best are there. I can’t explain the happiness I felt when I signed the contract with Real Madrid,” said the youngster.

During Madrid’s pre-season games, Vinicius Jr finally got the opportunity to stretch his legs. Julen Lopetegui certainly took notes but didn’t think he was ready for real, competitive football. Over the first 10 La Liga games, he could only manage to play 12 minutes of football, coming off the bench against Atletico Madrid and Alaves, respectively. Lopetugui’s ill-fated Bernabeu stint ended with the crushing 5-1 defeat at Barcelona, and with it, Vinicius’ frustrating spell on the sidelines.

Santiago Solari, straightaway, showed more faith in the player than Lopetegui ever did, and started him in the Copa del Rey clash against UD Melilla. The Brazilian rewarded his coach’s faith with a brace of assists, showing first signs of his quality on the ball. He once again impressed in the second leg, this time netting his first senior goal for Real Madrid.

His first La Liga start came earlier in January, in the 2-0 home defeat to Real Sociedad. Los Blancos were all over the place and produced one of their worst performances of the current campaign, but Vinicius, once again, stood out with his daunting runs and never-ending enthusiasm. In the first leg of the Copa del Rey last-16 clash against Leganes, the Brazilian dropped one of his best performances, pitching in with a goal and an assist as Madrid cruised to a 3-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Over the last few weeks, Vinicius Junior has been one of the first names on Solari’s team sheet. It is as if he knows the value of every single minute as a Real Madrid player, knows just how quickly it could all fade away.

The teenager, in no way, is the most polished player in the star-studded Real Madrid squad. He also isn’t the most dependable. But the youngster, most definitely, seems like the most courageous. He still needs to work a lot on his touches, his movement, and most of all, his finishing. But the temperament he has shown, so far, has really been exemplary. Vinicius Junior may or may not be the solution to all of Real Madrid’s problems, but the Brazilian, at the very least, makes all Madridistas hope for the improbable; makes them believe that it’s never over until the fat lady sings.

3 astonishing facts of Italian Super Cup: Juventus vs AC Milan

3 astonishing facts of Italian Super Cup: Juventus vs AC Milan

Juventus beat AC Milan 1-0 in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday night to win the Italian Super Cup for a record eighth time. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the only goal of the match to win his first trophy with Juventus. 

Italian Super Cup match went ahead at a sold-out King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah in front of more than 61,000 fans, including many women who were only allowed into Saudi sports stadiums a year ago for the first time to watch soccer matches.

The first half ended scoreless, although both teams had chances. Juventus had the bulk of them, although neither team will feel too good about their finishing in the first half. Then, in the 61st minute, Ronaldo broke the deadlock. He was able to slip through the offside trap while Miralem Pjanic was able to put in a pass from outside the box, totally left alone. It was a defensive breakdown, and although Gigio Donnarumma was able to get to the shot, the header had too much pace for him to handle.
In addition to winning this prestigious match, it turns out there are at least three astonishing facts for Juventus in this titanic duel.

Also Read: Zlatan slams Ronaldo for joining Juventus

Juventus overtakes AC Milan

Juventus successfully won the Italian Super Cup for the eighth time in their history of the. The Super Cup, which was first held since 1988, brings together the winners of the Italian Serie A with the Coppa Italia champions. But the story is different if the winner of the Serie A and Coppa Italia are the same team, like Juventus. Then, the Coppa Italia runner-up will be taken into account as the opponent of Serie A in the Supercoppa Italiana, as happened to AC Milan who occupied the second place in the 2017/18 Coppa Italia. With the 8th title obtained this Wednesday, Juventus are now the King of Super Cup, because they have overtaken Milan as the most champions in this competition. Previously, AC Milan and Juventus, both had seven Supercoppa Italiana titles.

Cristiano Ronaldo and the Super Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo became the Juventus hero after he won the Italian Super Cup, with the only goal he scored against AC Milan on Wednesday. With this Supercoppa Italiana title, Ronaldo has won the ‘Super Cup’ in all countries where he has a career as a football player. Supertaca Candido de Oliveira (Portuguese Super Cup), Community Shield (Premier League Super Cup), Supercopa de Espana (Spanish Super Cup) and Supercoppa Italiana (Italy), all of which he got from four different countries.

“I have my first title with Juventus so I’m happy. I really wanted this, to get off to a good start in 2019. This is only the start, we’ll take it one step at a time. We’ve got this cup, now we must keep working hard to achieve the next trophy,” said Ronaldo.

10th trophy for Allegri in Juventus

With the Italian Super Cup title early on Wednesday, Juventus Manager Massimiliano Allegri also recorded an impressive personal record as a coach. This is the 10th trophy Allegri won as a Juventus boss which began in the 2014/15 season. Massimiliano Allegri won this trophy for the second time, having lost to AC Milan in 2016 and Lazio last year.

“It was very hot and the important thing was to win. Ronaldo? We always say the same thing … that’s why we signed him. He is decisive and scores big goals, but the whole team put in a good performance,” said coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Slams Cristiano Ronaldo for Calling Juventus Switch a “Challenge”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Slams Cristiano Ronaldo for Calling Juventus Switch a "Challenge"

LA Galaxy striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has taken a swing at Juventus forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, dismissing the Portuguese’s claim that he moved to Juventus because he fancied a new “challenge”.

Having enjoyed nine hugely successful years with Real Madrid. Ronaldo, 33, moved to Turin in the summer of 2018. The £99.2m move broke the internet, with many criticizing Real Madrid for their lack of respect towards club legends.

However, speaking in an interview, Ronaldo clarified that the move was instigated by his knack for taking on new “challenges.” To top his spicy interview off, he also urged his longtime rival and fellow five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi, to leave his “comfort zone” and “experience new things”.

“I’d like him to come to Italy one day,” said Ronaldo, as quoted by BBC.
“I hope he accepts the challenge like me, but if he’s happy there then I respect that.”
Asked if he missed the Barcelona skipper, Ronaldo added: “No, maybe it’s him who misses me.”
“I’ve played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal and for my national team, while he’s still in Spain.”
“Maybe he needs me more. For me, life is a challenge, I like it and I like to make people happy.”
“He’s a fantastic player and a good guy, but I don’t miss anything here. This is my new life and I’m happy.”
“I left my comfort zone and took on this challenge here in Turin. Everything has gone well, I’ve proven I’m still an incredible player,” Ronaldo concluded.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has now called Ronaldo out on his comments, insisting that playing for the Serie A holders is no challenge for the Portugal international.
Discussing Ronaldo’s move, the former Sweden international, who scored 26 goals for the Bianconeri between 2004 and 2006, said: “Ronaldo talks about challenges but he decided to go to a club who have been winning the Serie A title with their eyes closed.”

“Why did he not choose a club from a second division a few years ago? Try to become a champion with such a second-division [club] and lead them to the highest level.”

“Moving to Juventus is not a challenge at all,” he concluded.

The ‘real’ reason behind Ronaldo’s move probably will always remain a mystery, but the way the former Manchester United winger has settled in at Juve is truly commendable. In only 19 Serie A appearances, the former Real Madrid man has netted 14 goals and contributed a further 5 assists for Juve, emerging as the league’s leading scorer.

Las Vegas Police Issue Warrant for Cristiano Ronaldo’s DNA as Part of Ongoing Sexual Assault Investigation

Las Vegas Police Issue Warrant for Cristiano Ronaldo's DNA as Part of Ongoing Sexual Assault Investigation

Police in Las Vegas has issued a warrant to obtain the DNA sample of Juventus star, Cristiano Ronaldo, as part of their investigation into the rape allegations made against the Portuguese superstar. 

Las Vegas police reopened the case in October after Kathryn Mayorga filed a lawsuit alleging that the former Real Madrid man raped her in a Las Vegas hotel suite in 2009, and then paid her $375,000 to keep the incident a secret.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the warrant has already been sent to the court system in Italy, as the Police want to contrast Ronaldo’s DNA with that of the remains found on the dress which Ms. Mayorga was wearing that night.

Since the start, Ronaldo has aggressively denied the accusations, which his spokesperson maintained even after the recent developments.

“Mr. Ronaldo has always maintained, as he does today, that what occurred in Las Vegas in 2009 was consensual in nature, so it is not surprising that DNA would be present, nor that the police would make this very standard request as part of their investigation,” said the Portuguese’s lawyer, Peter Christiansen.

Also Read: The complete story of Rape against Ronaldo

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said it was “taking the same steps in this case as in any other sexual assault to facilitate the collection of DNA evidence.”

LVMPD also confirmed the Wall Street Journal’s report, saying: “We can confirm that an official request has been submitted to Italian authorities,” as quoted by BBC.

“Due to this being an ongoing investigation, we have no additional information or comment on this case at this time.”

Juventus, who shelled out £99.2m to secure the player’s services in July, find themselves in a difficult situation amid the ongoing investigation. So far, they have whole-heartedly backed their player, but if the case ends up going south, they run the risk of being affected both on and off the pitch.

The player himself hasn’t offered any comments following the warrant, but the Bianconeri coach, Massimiliano Allegri, insists his key player is calm as ever.

“It’s his personal question, I talk about football,” Allegri told reporters ahead of Juve’s Coppa Italia clash with Bologna, as reported by Goal.

“I can tell you that I saw him very serene, he is training well. It has been a very tight four months, now we need to work to play better in the 36 potential games we have left.”

“I see Cristiano peaceful and calm, I go on that. For the rest, it is not for me to answer because they are private affairs.”

There were also suggestions for Allegri to manage the 33-year-old’s playing time carefully heading into the business end of the season.

“Until now, he has never gone to the national team [while at Juve],” Allegri added.

“The six games that he spared with Portugal he has then played them in the league with us, so he played more or less the same matches last year.”

“As we move forward, I will manage the condition of all in order to try to arrive at the end of all the objectives well. He [Ronaldo] will play on Saturday, but let’s see how and when.”

Cristiano Ronaldo has been in superb form for Juventus this season, scoring 15 goals and providing 8 assists in 24 appearances across all competitions.

Cristiano Ronaldo: “There is life after Real Madrid”

Cristiano Ronaldo: "There is life after Real Madrid"

Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed to prove to Florentino Perez that there is life after Real Madrid and that, after almost six months of his departure, he is the happiest man in the world. 

The reckless Cristiano Ronaldo has again attacked the figure of Florentino Perez this week where he knows that he can do more damage, the lack of humility. His words in the Italian press have a recipient and, although he avoids pronouncing the name of the president of Real Madrid, they look for the effect of comparing Florentino Perez with Andrea Agnelli, president of his current team.

“Juventus is the best group in which I have played. Here we are a team. In other places, someone feels bigger than the others, but here they are all in the same line. They are humble and want to win.” That other place that lacks humility, according to Cristiano Ronaldo, is Florentino Perez.

Image Credit: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The Real Group

There are those who intend to interpret that it is an attack on his former colleagues and that his relationship with Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Modric or Benzema, to give some examples, is broken or has been broken. This is not where Cristiano’s taunts go. While distance cools relationships, friendship has not been lost. Cristiano Ronaldo has the obsession to prove to his former president that he is happy and is in a winning team. For that, he uses arguments such as “this is a family” that can be interpreted as a criticism of Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo does not have any reproach to the treatment of his ex-partners.

The Portuguese asked that Florentino to be sincere to explain the reasons why he had to leave Real Madrid. To this day, it has not yet been said goodbye from the fans to the one, who is the top scorer in the history of the Madrid team, 451 goals in nine years. It is the image of a player who marked a time and had to leave by the back door. And he is not the first one to whom this episode happened. Iker Casillas lived a similar situation. Another one who strives and tries to show his heart that there is life outside of Real Madrid, but that one day he decided that his Madridista prevents him from attacking or disfiguring the club he carries in his heart.

Also Read: Cristiano Ronaldo | Best Start By A Juventus Player In The Last 60 Years

Image Credit: Getty Images

The ‘Golden Ball’ of Luka Modric

The whiff of Cristiano Ronaldo has had a response from Florentino Perez in his message at the Christmas dinner with the media this Tuesday in the Santiago Bernabeu. If Cristiano Ronaldo attacks where he knows he can do more damage, Florentino has asked the media to name who is the best representative of the club’s values. “Luka Modric represents, perfectly, the values of our players”, the president has released to remember the winner of The Best award and the Ballon d’Or. In a speech in which he stressed that Real Madrid lives in a successful stage with the achievement of four Champions in five years and still valid values such as sacrifice, delivery, solidarity, and humility. Real Madrid as the winning club of the collective and individual prizes, like the day in which Cristiano received his fifth Golden Ball and Florentino threw the ‘hook’ to Neymar remembering where it was easier to win this prize.

Cristiano Ronaldo is doing well in Italy with Juventus, a leader in the Serie A, qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, makes goals with ease, earns money and pays less tax. The Agnelli boss gives him affection, plays all the minutes with Allegri. He is in the right place to continue increasing his ego and throwing taunts, but Florentino also does well without Cristiano Ronaldo, with Modric and his Ballon d’Or.

Cristiano Ronaldo | Best start by a Juventus player in the last 60 years.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Juventus - Serie A

If anybody had any concerns whether Cristiano Ronaldo will settle into Italian football, they have been well and truly appeased by Portuguese captain. As Ronaldo continues breaking records in Juventus, let’s take a look at the latest mark he has left in the history of the Italian giants. 

As Ronaldo netted again in an easy win for Juventus against Florentina, the Portuguese sensation has broken yet another record in the famous black and white kit of Juventus as he recorded the best start to his career of anyone for Juventus in the last six decades. Ronaldo went into the game on second place on the goalscoring charts of the Serie A, just behind Polish international Piatek who has netted 10 goals this season. But after converting from the spot 11 minutes before full time, Ronaldo now shares the top spot with the former. 

Bentancur and Chiellini struck early and gave the Old Lady a comfortable two-goal cushion before the penalty was converted. Ronaldo has now managed to score 10 goals in 14 games and has proven to all his haters and the people who doubted his goal-scoring ability that he still processes the magic touch that he is renowned for everywhere around the World. This meant he equaled the record in Turin, one that had stood since 1957, when Welsh legend John Charles managed to net 10 goals in the first 14 games as a Juventus player. 

The comfortable win means that Juventus now sit at the top of the table 11 points clear of second-placed Napoli who have a game in hand. Signs suggest that Juventus are all set to comfortably win their eighth successive league title in Italy, with a solid chance to win the Champions League too. They seem extremely comfortable both at home and away from where the performance records are almost identical. They are the only unbeaten team away from home in 2018 with a staggering point average of 2.7 points per game, the best in Europe’s top 5 leagues. With superb contribution from Ronaldo among other’s, Juventus have managed to score at least 2 goals in all of their last seven matches that were played away from home. This helped in breaking yet another record in the Serie A as Juventus are the only team to record 40 points after the first 14 matchdays. 

The impact that Portuguese superstar Ronaldo is having on the Serie A giants is something very evident. They are now one of the best teams in Europe and are well poised to not only win the Serie A but also go a long way in Europe’s premier club competition, the UEFA Champions League

Ballon d’Or – 5 most controversial winner ever

Monday, December 3, 2018. On that date, Paris will be staged for awarding the Ballon d’Or 2018. For the first time, after years of uncontested rule, the award-winning Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will not be on the podium. In addition, we will have a totally new finale composed by Luka Modric, Kylian Mbappe and Raphael Varane.

The Real Madrid defender has been at the centre of a discussion for his participation in the final act because, according to many, he had “stolen” the place from some much more deserving football player. In fact, in the past, it happened more than once that a player obtained the prize of Ballon d’Or among general criticism from those deserve it more. We have collected 5 of them and staged them to refresh your memory.


Matthias Sammer (1996)

The Golden Ball was handed over to a defender came in 1996, when Borussia Dortmund’s Matthias Sammer won the award. The recognition triggered a lot of controversy in Italy because of the fourth-place finish of Alessandro Del Piero, winner of the Champions League and Intercontinental Cup that year, where he was the undisputed hero. And then Sammer had won the European Championship but was not considered one of the best defenders in the world, yet he climbed on the top step of the podium for only 3 votes more than a young Ronaldo, the Phenomenon, and Alan Shearer, the English flag of Newcastle United.


Pavel Nedved (2003)

Image result for nedved ballon d'or

Back in 2003, the name taken out of the winner’s envelope was Pavel Nedved. The Czech played an excellent Champions League, although not played the final because of the controversy in the semifinal match against Real Madrid, leaving the victory to Milan. Two Rossoneri reached the threshold of victory, Paolo Maldini, winner of the fourth Champions League of his career, came third, while Andry Shevchenko only came fourth. The second place, in fact, was assigned to a certain Thierry Henry. The Frenchman scored 42 goals and 26 assists in the whole calendar year, numbers impressed before the arrival of Messi and Ronaldo.

Also read : Do Luca Modric really deserved it?


Fabio Cannavaro (2006)

The defender finished in front of his team-mate Gianluigi Buffon, author of a virtually perfect World Cup without suffering even a network of action in the 7 matches of the competition. Third for the award, however, came Thierry Henry, the French tightrope walker who took Arsenal one step away from the Champions League victory and lost the Berlin final due to the naive mistakes of Zidane before, with his famous header, and Trezeguet then, stopped by the crossbar in the shot from the penalty spot.


Lionel Messi (2010)

Image result for messi ballon d'or 2010

Winning a major competition is one of the main motivations for obtaining the Ballon d’Or award. This explains the general dismay about the victory of Lionel Messi in 2010. The Argentine preceded his teammates Iniesta and Xavi , who excelled with the Spain the World Cup in South Africa, in which Don Andres even scored the decisive goal in the final  In Italy, however, the controversy was raised by the Inter people, wounded in the soul for not having seen reward for one of its players in Triplet. Wesley Sneider came fourth, despite being one of the finalists of the 2010 World Cup. And Diego Milito did not even finish among the first 23 of the list of candidates for the award.


Cristiano Ronaldo (2013)

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The Portuguese took the Golden Ball on the face of Lionel Messi. Few points of difference to precede the Argentine were enough to get his second personal recognition. The discussion, however, was fueled anyway, as the prize could be awarded to Frank Ribery, Bayern Munich’s main man in the 2012-2013 Champions League victory. The Frenchman came only third, putting an end to the possibility of snatching the Ballon d’Or from the Messi-Ronaldo monopoly for the last few years.